South Africa. In April, the government won a big victory
against 39 foreign drug manufacturers, who brought it to
court for deciding to import cheap copies of large
companies' AIDS drugs. According to
Countryaah, the companies considered that their
patent rights were infringed, but they decided, after severe
public pressure, to withdraw their notification.
Security Minister Steve Tshwete in April accused three
prominent members of the ANC government party, including
former Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa, of having planned
to overthrow President Thabo Mbeki. The charges were not
specified and were rejected jointly by the three. The
information did not win much public confidence, but diluted
the image of an ANC whose top leadership has become
increasingly powerful and isolated.
In April, the Government appointed an inquiry into
alleged bribery in connection with the Defense Force's major
order in 1999 of military equipment from, among other
things. Sweden. The investigators cleaned the government as
such in November but considered that a number of
irregularities had occurred when the purchases were made. A
number of people with influence over contract writing were
suspected to have had personal interests in some of the
European companies that would supply the equipment.
The year-old Democratic Alliance (DA) split during the
fall. The DA was a close collaboration between the New
Nationalist Party (NNP), heir to the old apartheid party NP,
and the Liberal Democratic Party (DP). After the split, the
NNP instead approached the ANC. With a speed that surprised
most appraisers, and ordinary party members, the two parties
agreed in November on cooperation at all political levels.
This opened an opportunity for the ANC to take control of
the Western Cape Province, which is governed by the DA and
which was the only one of South Africa's eleven provinces
where the ANC did not participate in the government.
In the official white South African history, it was
previously claimed that South Africa (Azania) was almost
empty when European immigration began in the 1600s. However,
already there was a substantial and composed African
population at that time. Both by the original locals -
khoikhoi and sart (by Europeans later called "hottentots"
and "bushmen") - and by Bantu-speaking immigrants from the
During the colonial pillar of the mercantilist period, a
European supply and trade station was needed on the road to
Asia. In 1652, the Dutch East India Company established such
a base on the southern tip of the Cape. The Portuguese
sailor, Vasco da Gama, had already celebrated Cape of Good
Hope 150 years earlier, but the Portuguese were more
interested in India and feared the local khoikhoi
people who had settled in the area over 1000 years earlier
and who were hostile to foreigners mariners.
Jan Van Rebeck was the first Dutch to oppose the
khoikhoi people. He founded a colony on the southern
tip - which would later become Cape Town - and started a
production of food supplying the ships all the way to
Indonesia. In 1688 about 600 peasants lived in the colony.
They spent their time farming and waging war against the
Khoikhoi. Despite the small size of the colony, the
first Dutch settlers were strongly united and aggressive.
Two characteristics have since characterized should
(after the Dutch word for farmer) culture in South Africa.
The Dutch were atypical settlers. They received wages
from the Dutch East India Company, were not allowed to trade
with the indigenous population and had to surrender their
entire production to the company. Gradually, the conflicts
developed with their overseas employers who did not allow
violations of their monopoly or the use of slave labor for
the expansion of plantations or cattle operations. The Boers
won the conflict and towards the end of the 17th century the
so-called free settlers - or burghers - were in the
majority. The population of European descent was now
divided. One group continued to trade abroad. The other went
inland looking for new lands.
Already at this time, the basis for the economic and
racial oppression of the local population was laid. The
Africans were deprived of cattle and land and the only
alternative for many khoikhoi people was to become laborers
on the farms. An actual war of extermination was carried out
against the sart people. They were slaughtered or driven out
into the worst lands. Slavery became an early part of the
economic system - among other things. through the
importation of slaves from Asia and other parts of Africa.
Throughout the 1700s, the Boers expanded north and west
from the Cape, and in the hundred years until 1880, more
than ten major wars were waged against the Xhosa and Zulu
people. The right to the conquered territories and racial
supremacy became strong features of the ideology of the
peasantry, coupled with a strictly Calvinistic version of
the Protestant faith. This racist ideology served to justify
the economic power relationship: white peasants and laborers
against black land workers and slaves.